War of words erupts over 'fore' warning
The Open was forced to issue fresh guidance on 'fore' etiquette last night as a bitter row escalated between two players over a wayward shot hitting a caddie's mother.
Safety reviews were launched at Royal Portrush last year after a spectator was blinded in one eye by a Brooks Koepka tee shot at the Ryder Cup in Paris.
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Now the issue has come into focus again after Scottish rookie Robert MacIntyre confronted the American Kyle Stanley for failing to yell 'fore'.
The Oban native claimed Stanley hit a steward in the shin with an errant shot on the 14th, and then did nothing to raise the alarm when his shot missed the fairway on 17 and hit the mother of MacIntyre's caddie, Greg Milne.
Yesterday, the furore deepened as Stanley, a two-time PGA Tour winner, refused to apologise and angrily hit back at MacIntyre. "It's kind of a non-issue," said Stanley. "I'm not really sure why he decided to make such an issue about it."
MacIntyre had previously confronted Stanley on Friday. "My playing partner doesn't shout 'fore', his ball goes into the crowd, we're shouting 'fore' as the ball is coming into the crowd," MacIntyre said.
"He's just standing watching it. And people didn't have enough time to react when we shouted."
Stanley is unlikely to be fined over his failure to shout, but a spokesman for the R&A said that players had been told in no uncertain terms that they should shout 'fore' when a ball heads out of bounds.
"We issued guidance to the players at the start of the Championship, as we do each year, advising them to show courtesy to spectators by shouting 'fore' if they hit a wayward shot," a statement said. "It is the player's responsibility to do so. We would remind all players of the importance of giving people as much warning as possible if a ball is heading in their direction."
Stanley, 31, insisted Scottish star MacIntyre had misrepresented the events of Friday's second round, bristling in response: "I don't feel the need to be schooled on the rules of golf."
"When you talk about somebody playing within the boundaries of etiquette in golf, that's kind of a touchy situation," said Stanley, who shot 73 yesterday for a tournament score of two over par.
"To paint somebody in that light, not playing within the etiquette of the game, you've got to be careful when you do that. And when you tell your story you've got to make sure you've got all the details. From what I read last night, he didn't do that. Listen, he's a young player, I've been out here a while, so I don't feel the need to be schooled on the rules of golf. That's my perspective on it."
Stanley says he has no plans to apologise. "After I hit, several people on the tee box yelled 'fore', my two playing partners, my caddie, a couple of the volunteers, marshals, even had them signalling it was going right. And then everyone to the right, they knew it was coming."